11 April 2011

When The Best-Laid Plans Lead To A Lane To Reverend Ike

Hopefully, you have all had an experience of not "getting the guy (or girl)" but ending up with The One.  

I'm not going to describe anything quite as momentous as that.  But I am going to relate a tale of things not going according to plan and turning out better than I'd planned.

I didn't work on any of my bikes yesterday.  The rain didn't materialize.  However, I did other things that took more time than I expected.  So I got to spend only half an hour on my bike.

On the other hand, today I didn't have classes due to a scheduling quirk.  And the afternoon turned into the nicest one we've had in months.  The morning fog and clouds burned away in the afternoon sun; within a couple of hours, the temperature rose from the mid-50's to near 80.  After sending off my state tax return and a birthday card for my father, I gulped down some green tea and yogurt with almonds and raisins and took Tosca out for a spin.

The route I followed today was the same as the one I took last year, when I did my first post-surgery ride of more than an hour.  It's also the route that I took for one of my last rides before surgery.  From my place, I took the RFK Bridge to Randall's Island and Manhattan, where I pedaled through upper Manhattan to the George Washington Bridge.  On the New Jersey side of the bridge, I rode atop the Palisades, along the Hudson River, to the edge of Jersey City, where I descended to the Exchange Place waterfront.   Then it was a matter of following, glancing away from, then following again, the waterfront through Jersey City and Bayonne (the hometown of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons) to the bridge bearing the latter city's name to Staten Island, where I took the Ferry.

It's an interesting combination of urban neighborhoods, cookie-cutter suburbs, blue-collar and yuppie havens, and views of the river, skyline, bridges that reflect the color of the morning mist and trestles that put the rust in Rust Belt.

Just before the GW Bridge, there's an interesting or hideous (depending on your point of view) theatre that was probably built during the 1920's.  It now serves as a pulpit for the ex of a famous singer/performer who has done some of her best-known work since splitting up with him.

Said preacher is Reverend Ike.  Yes, that Rev. Ike:  the one who was Mr. Tina Turner.  Of course, he never saw the relationship that way, though sometimes I think that, deep down, he must have known it would come to that.  Quite possibly the worst thing for the long-term prospects of a marriage is a wife who is obviously more talented than the husband.  (Somehow marriages stay together when the man is more talented.  That's a story for another post, or more precisely, another blog, or some sort of study by the NIH.)  At least Sonny Bono admitted as much about Cher; from what I understand, Rev. Ike was very abusive toward Tina.  

Hmm...Are politics and preaching the last refuges of husbands who can't make it on their own and whose wives get sick of them riding on their coattails?

I digress, again.  About half a mile south (downtown, to New Yorkers) of Rev. Ike's temple, I saw something I hadn't seen since I last rode up that way:

It's the shortest bike lane in New York.  Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit.  But it does serve a purpose:  It guides cyclists through one of the trickiest intersections in upper Manhattan, if not all of the city.  When St. Nicholas Avenue (on which the lane is located) crosses West 163rd Street, it also intersects with Audubon Avenue which, like St. Nicholas, is one of the main thoroughfares of that part of town.  

If the intersection were a clock and you were riding on St. Nicholas from the six o'clock position, the traffic from Audubon would be coming at you from the two and eight o'clock position, while the 163rd Street traffic would be coming from somewhere between the two and three o'clock position, and somewhere between the eight and nine o'clock positions. So, from St. Nick, you would cross 163rd and Audubon as if they were an eight-lane highway.  

The new path leads to a couple of concrete islands where there are signs, and from which the path continues to 165th Street.

After that and Rev. Ike, the rest of the ride was a piece of cake!

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